OSHA Issues Alert on CSE Corp.'s Self-Contained Self-Rescuer

Some of these devices have a critical defect that may cause the release of insufficient oxygen during start-up, a defect that could immediately result in a life-threatening situation for workers using the respirator.

OSHA has issued an alert to employers and workers using the CSE Corporation's SR-100 Self-Contained Self-Rescuer (SCSR). Some of these devices have a critical defect that may cause the release of insufficient oxygen during start-up, a defect that could immediately result in a life-threatening situation for workers using the respirator.

"When workers need to escape from a dangerous situation, effective and reliable respiratory protection is essential," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels. "Employers should immediately take steps to replace these respirators with a different NIOSH-approved self-rescuer or other respirator suitable for emergency escape protection." Employers must remove CSE SR-100s from service no later than May 31, 2012, in accordance with the NIOSH Respirator User Notice "Loss of Start-Up Oxygen in CSE SR-100 Self-Contained Self-Rescuers" of April 26, 2012.

OSHA's underground construction standard (29 CFR 800(g)(2)) requires the use of self-rescuer respirators and OSHA's permit-required confined space standard (29 CFR 1910.146 Appendix E) also identified these respirators as one approach to emergency escape respiratory protection for sewer workers.

NIOSH recently issued a technical report (Loss of Start-Up Oxygen in CSE SR-100 Self-Contained Self-Rescuers [DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2012-139] that found the CSE SR-100 units had an unacceptable defect rate and field-deployed units no longer conform to the minimum requirements for certification under 42 CFR Part 84. Accordingly, employers and employees should no longer rely upon this device as an escape respirator during emergencies.

Under OSHA's respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134), employers must provide training to ensure that workers know what to do should their SCSR fail to activate. Employers and workers should immediately obtain another SCSR if they encounter any difficulty with the operation of an SCSR.

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